Carrick's Man Utd beat Villarreal to qualify for Champions League knockout stage

Cristiano Ronaldo was the hero once again for Manchester United as he broke the deadlock before Jadon Sancho scored his first goal for the club in a crucial 2-0 win at Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

The victory in Spain guarantees that the Red Devils will qualify for the knockout stages from Group H of the competition and gives caretaker manager Michael Carrick the perfect start to his stint in charge.

The Portuguese legend netted the opener on 78 minutes after fine work from Fred, who hassled Etienne Capoue as he was receiving a pass out from the Villarreal goalkeeper.

The Brazilian picked Capoue’s pocket, played in Ronaldo, who lobbed goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli with a clever finish.

Sancho then powered home a fantastic finish in the 90th minute, putting the match to bed and rustling up some much-needed confidence after a slow start to his career with the club.

It was a sweeping counter-attack from United as Villarreal looked for an equaliser.

Ronaldo, Rashford and Fernandes were all involved, with the latter laying it into Sancho charging into the penalty box and hammering a strike into the roof of the net.

After an hour of little action, Manchester United had been in the ascendency when the first goal came, after the introductions of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford from the bench.

It was something of a surprise to see those two not in the starting XI, but they certainly made a difference when they replaced Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial after 66 minutes.

While it was a fantastic result for the visitors, it was not a game to remember for much of it, with neither goalkeeper pressed into a huge amount of action, although there were good saves from David De Gea and Geronimo Rulli in the second half.

De Gea’s stop from Manu Trigueros when the game was goalless was especially world class, but Rulli’s impressive save which denied Jadon Sancho his first United goal was also one of the few highlights of the contest.

Sancho did not have to wait much longer till he ended his goal drought though, capping off an impressive performance on the right wing from the England international.

The Red Devils certainly looked more disciplined and with a more obvious plan for the majority of the match than they have in recent weeks and Carrick will be thrilled to get off to his spell in charge to the ideal start.

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